One of Tassie’s greatest charms is how the state can continue to surprise you. Take laid-back little Wynyard, for instance: Along with the dramatic landscapes and good food you soon come to expect from Tasmania, here you’ll find an unexpected patchwork of bright colours among the green farmland.
Wynyard is a beach town located about 65 km northwest of Devonport and just over 160 km from Launceston. The town lies at the mouth of the Inglis River and is dominated by flat-topped Table Cape.
Table Cape, which was named in 1789 by the explorers George Bass and Matthew Flinders, was the traditional territory of the Tommeginner people, whose tidal fish traps you can still see at Fossil Bluff just west of town. As its name suggests, Fossil Bluff is also rich in fossils and among the complete fossils discovered here were that of a wombat and an ancient whale.
Henry Hellyer, who was a surveyor for the Van Dieman’s Land Company, explored the area in 1827 and named the Inglis River. However, the first settler at what would become Wynyard arrived only in 1841. He was John King, who drowned in the Inglis River in 1847.
In 1852 Joseph Alexander built the Table Cape Inn at the site where the Alexandria B&B now stands. He and his brothers Mathias and John, all of them ex-convicts, had settled here in the 1830s already and named the settlement Alexandria. John Alexander was the father of probably the most famous person born in the area, actor F. Mathias Alexander, the inventor of the Alexander technique. The Alexander brothers commissioned the first ship to be built on the Inglis River but by the late 1860s Alexandria had gone into decline because of the growth of the new timber port of Wynyard across the river. You’ll still find beautiful timber homes throughout Wynyard.
In 1888 the Table Cape Lighthouse was built. Wynyard itself quickly became a farming town and in 1892 Tasmania’s first butter factory was opened here. Onions and potatoes are among the crops grown in the area but it’s in September and October that Wynyard becomes a riot of colour when the tulips bloom. The Table Cape Tulip Farm then hosts open days and in the second week of October Wynyard is also home to the Bloomin’ Tulips Festival.
Located at the Wonders of Wynyard Exhibition Centre is the Ransley Veteran Ford Collection, which includes a rare Model A Ford from 1903. The centre is also home to the Wynyard Visitor Information Centre, where you can find out about the excellent walks in the area. Among these are tracks leading past beaches where you can go swimming, fishing or kayaking. You can also explore tidal caves, go fossicking for gold at the Doctors Rocks Conservation Area or simply enjoy the breathtaking views.
Wynyard has a good range of accommodation options but it’s advisable to book ahead especially during tulip season.